The Best Wine Last
Into the story of this memorable marriage I do not propose to go this evening; I wish to base what I may have to say on this remark of the ruler of the feast. Why, think you, did this saying so impress John that it lingered ineffaceably in his memory? Was it merely because of the pleasure it evoked to hear his Master's handiwork so praised? I think there was a deeper reason. John was by nature an idealist, loving to find the abstract in the concrete. In the particular instance of the moment, he was quick to see the universal law. And it flashed on John, hearing this chairman speak, that he was speaking more wisely than he knew and uttering a truth that had far wider range than the miracle at that Highland wedding. Was it not true of many an earthly pageant that the best wine was given at the beginning? Was it not true wherever Christ was active that the best wine was kept until the end? In other words, take man apart from God and always it is the worse which follows; but take God in any of His thousand energies, and always the best is kept until the end.
It is on these two truths I wish to speak tonight, and first on the sadder and more somber of them. Think, then, for a moment of life itself, unsustained by the hope we have in God. Now I am not a pessimist, as you all know; nor am I given to painting dark or lurid pictures; yet the fact is too plain to be gainsaid1-afterward that which is worse. First comes childhood with its joy and wonder and with its world compact of mystery and charm. Then follows youth with its ideal and vision and opening manhood with its glowing hopes. And the world is still a very noble place, and the gates of the prison-house have not yet closed, and the body, whether for toil or joy, is still a subtle and a powerful instrument. Then come the heat and battle of mid-life, and the weakness and the weariness of age, and the years when men say, "I have no pleasure in them," and when all the ...
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